I've been steeped in the study of Padre Pio's life for years now and one fact that still astonishes me is that Pio heard one million confessions during the 52 year span from 1916 when he was granted the faculties 'til his death in 1968. Something that sticks in the mind of many people is that occasionally Padre Pio refused absolution when he knew that the person kneeling before him was not properly disposed to be absolved of their sins. Yes, Pio could see the soul and had certain knowledge, such as the time he refused absolution to a woman who was not genuinely contrite for having had an abortion, and one year later he granted her absolution when she had developed true contrition. 

Everyone who was close to Pio always attested to the fact that Pio always granted absolution - albeit at some time later - to the person who was initially denied it. There was an occasion, however, when a priest tried to imitate Padre Pio and was randomly denying absolution when he thought the penitent was not worthy. The dynamic exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth was witness to a young, zealous priest getting reprimanded by Pio for his refusal to absolve penitents when he didn't feel they deserved it.  This young priest spent his vacation at San Giovanni Rotondo every Summer, and he longed to be like his hero, Pio, but when Pio found out he was denying people absolution, Pio blasted him and asked rhetorically, "Who do you think you are, Padre Pio? I know when to deny absolution. You have to absolve!"

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125 years ago today, Padre Pio was born in his parents' bedroom, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PIO!

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This post was informed by Gabriele Amorth's memoir, Padre Pio: Stories of My Mentor and Friend which is available here


  1. Thanks for this story Mary. I have not read Amorth's book.


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